Ouch! Obesity and Pain Sensitivity

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Many of us have been asked the question, “on a scale of 1 to 10, how much does it hurt?” It is an industry standard that helps medical professionals to evaluate and gauge the severity of a patient’s condition. While pain tolerance varies from individual to individual, a study suggests that those with an unhealthy diet may have an increased sensitivity to pain.

The study analyzed the relationship between diet, body fat, and pain. Professor Charles Emery, the study’s author, says, “The Body Mass Index, dietary habits, and pain sensitivity are evidently interrelated. In particular, persons with a higher BMI who mainly consume low-fiber foods appear to be at risk of suffering from pain more frequently.”

The BMI of approximately 100 adult participants was calculated. On average, the BMI exceeded 30 which registers within the obese range on the current scale. Next, researchers examined the diets of the participants. Those who ate anti-inflammatory and therefore healthier foods scored a high number of points in the “health-eating index.” A healthier, anti-inflammatory diet includes foods that contain more antioxidants and fewer saturated fatty acids. Lastly, participants were asked to answer questions that rated their pain sensitivity.

Researchers found that pain sensitivity increased as a participant’s body mass index increased. It became clearer that dietary habits helped to explain the relationship between a person’s BMI and pain. The researchers suspect this is because the blood parameters of inflammation trigger cytokines protein, which depend on diet. Additionally, being overweight or obese can trigger chronic inflammatory reactions in the body, which increase a person’s sensitivity to pain.

Participants were screened for arthritis to rule that out as an explanation for their pain sensitivity as well. Professor Emery states, “Choosing healthy or unhealthy foods could be a relevant factor in the relationship between understanding body fat and pain.”

If you are experiencing pain on a regular basis, or you’re worried about a recent incident where you were in pain, it is important to let your doctor know. While diet or weight could be an explanation, it is important to rule out any severe conditions too. Contact your doctor at the Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey to discuss your symptoms and get started on feeling your best.






Vitamin C Supplementation Improves Lifestyle for Overweight, Obese

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Obesity is an epidemic in the United States and with it comes a range of troubling health conditions and diseases. The causes and treatment of obesity vary from person to person, but the quality of life for those who are obese is often diminished. While doctors and researchers continue to develop methods for treating obese adults and get them on a path to health and wellness, a new study offers a simple option: vitamin C supplements.

Authors of a small study recently concluded that, “Vitamin C supplementation represents an effective lifestyle strategy for reducing the blood vessel constriction that is increased in overweight and obese adults.” The study focused on a protein called endothelin-1, which constricts small blood vessels. The protein becomes more active in overweight and obese people and because of high endothelin-1 activity, small vessels are more prone to constricting and become less responsive to the blood flow demand. This effectively increases a person’s risk of vascular disease.

Research has already shown that exercise reduces endothelin-1 activity, but researchers were looking for ways to supplement exercise for improved blood vessel function. Vitamin C has previously been reported to improve blood vessel function and lower endothelin-1 activity. Caitlin Dow led the study to determine the effectiveness of Vitamin-C. The study focused on 35 sedentary, overweight/obese adults over a three-month period. The participants either completed 3 months of supplementation or aerobic exercise training. Researchers measured forearm blood flow and responses to intra-arterial infusion of endothelin-1 before and after each intervention. The results showed that “daily supplementation of Vitamin C at a time-release dose of 500mg daily reduced endothelin-1-mediated vessel constriction as much as walking did.”

Vitamin C has also been shown to help people who are extremely fit and under heavy physical stress—like marathon runners—reduce their chances of getting a cold. Getting the proper balance of vitamins at any fitness level is important, but patients who are overweight or obese should not depend solely on vitamins. Finding healthy habits to adopt is an important part of the path to a healthier, happier quality of life. If you are looking for ways to improve your health, or have questions about your routine, call your doctor at the Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey today to find the healthy habits that fit your needs today!